Tag Archives: bamboo

Framework House hits the Press


Designed and constructed in partnership with local community groups, Habitat for Humanity Cambodia and COLE. Framework House delivers a safe & structured way of providing housing to low income & at risk communities. It gives Public and NGO housing providers a way of structuring community involvement without risking inflated project costs. The design allows for infill wall & floor materials that are site specific reducing the overall cost & carbon footprint. These infill areas allow for expansion and extension of the property over time by residents once skills have been shared through construction.

Our Framework House design recently made it into many online articles such as Designboom, Domus, Inhabitat and more…



If you would like to write an article about our Framework House project please get in touch.

And see some more photos of the final design:



Thanks for reading,



Bamboo Trees: Building with Bamboo in the Laos Jungle

For 3 weeks in April, I had the fantastic opportunity to assist in hosting Building Trust’s latest design + build workshop in the Laos jungle. With a team of international volunteers, Laos workers and Building Trust staff we completed the build of an innovative fundraising merchandise store for Free the Bears.


Following the construction of several built projects in South East Asia using natural materials and seeing the growing interest and response in sustainable design and natural materials such as bamboo. Building Trust organised a Design + Build workshop to be held at Kuang Si Falls on the outskirts of Luang Prabang with Free the Bears. Working alongside Atelier COLE, a new merchandise store was designed and built which educates both workshop participants and the high volume of annual tourist visitors to the Tat Kuang Si Park on building with bamboo.


Free the Bears work tirelessly to combat the illegal trade in live bears and provide a safe sanctuary for any rescued bears at Tat Kuang Si Rescue Centre. Most of the bears at the centre are Asiatic Black Bears (Moon Bears) that were illegally captured from the wild as young cubs. It is likely that they were destined for use in the traditional medicine trade. The merchandise store will enable Free the Bears to sell items such as T-shirts, in order to receive much needed donations to allow them to continue their ongoing efforts to protect bears in Laos and beyond.


The fluted fountain like canopies protect the deck area by catching rain water and passing it through the gravel filled, hollow, circular foundation footings. As with all Building Trust projects the Bamboo Trees project worked closely with the local community who in this case were Khmu. They assisted in sharing local skills such as bamboo, rattan weaving and palm thatching which were later used to develop the roof of the structure.


The bamboo is complimented by rope (around 10 kilometres) that spirals around the structure, weaving each piece together and creating strength from the whole. The resulting tensegrity structures lean against each other in a tripartite vault.



You can see more photos of the construction of Bamboo Trees Here and be sure to check out more about Free The Bears!

Thanks for reading!



Building Trust are designing and building teacher housing in Battambang with SeeBeyondBorders. The pilot house will hopefully be the start of a wider roll out of both housing for teachers and new classrooms for students…

Check out the latest images from site:




I look forward to updating on on the final week of the build with completed photos very soon.

Thanks for reading,


Saving wildlife through building community led eco-lodges in Cambodia.


Building Trust international have worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and SVC on a new eco-lodge designed and built by the local community, NGO partners and through a hands-on participatory design and build workshop. Building Trust were requested by WCS to work with the local community in Tmat Boey, in the north of Cambodia to design
and construct a new lodge facility for WCS and SVC’s well established ecotourism project. The project is located in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary and is managed by the Ministry of Environment.

Birdwatchers from across Asia and beyond flock to Cambodia for a glimpse of two of the world’s rarest birds: the giant ibis and its cousin the whiteshouldered ibis. The birds’ nesting grounds sit at the outskirts of Tmat Boey, a rural village where WCS and SVC have worked with the community to develop an eco-tourism project. This ground breaking project has turned
village farmers into custodians of the natural habitats the wildlife around them inhabit. Protecting threatened forests and in doing so providing an income to the whole community.

Mixed materials

The design makes use of natural materials such as earth and bamboo. An adobe mix was created to place on the external walls with a lime plaster used to form a smooth, clean finish. Bamboo was sourced locally and used to create the roof and side wall facades. Recycled plastic bottles were collected from the local community and used to help create a staircase to reach the lodge itself, while also educating on the importance of recycling and reusing materials.

The roof goes up
It is hoped the newly designed lodge will attract wildlife enthusiasts from Asia and beyond who will benefit from the sustainably built lodge. The adobe and lime plaster has a cooling effect creating a natural airflow throughout. The new building features moveable swinging windows which were built from locally sourced timber and can be positioned to allow guests to watch wildlife from the comfort of their own room. The overhanging split roof was used to create a frame protecting the natural materials within. The concept of the wrap around angled roof is based on reducing solar gain on the walls and defining the building against the dense canopy.

Local community help on site
The workshop itself allowed for the crossover of skills between the Tmat Boey community, local contractors and Building Trust volunteers. Working alongside the community ensured the project was owned by the people it supports. Building Trust are due to host a number of design and build workshops throughout 2015 promoting natural building, community
engagement and sustainable construction techniques.

In constructionCommunity ConsultationBamboo and adobe

Revisit to MOVINGschools

In May, the BTi team visited Mae Sot to gain an update on our MOVINGschools and also to see an exciting new project working with Ironwood to renovate schools within the border town.

First we visited MOVINGschool 001 which looked in great shape, which even had a family of birds nesting in our bamboo blinds.

birdhome Classrooms May 2014

We also visited New Road school and were given a kind gift from one of the teachers; a photo of her pupils using their new school building for their end of year exams.


It was great to see the school renovation project our friends at Ironwood had been working on and see where our donation to the project went.

Classroom Rehabilitation

We hope to give updated annually from our MOVINGschools to keep you up to date with how the buildings are doing.

School Test

Moving Schools Project: Week Two on Site:


After managing to put in the first foundation post at the end of last week, our determined and energetic volunteers worked through the weekend and managed to fix three further foundation posts on site. The team worked through heavy rain, attempting to remove water from the foundation holes before they filled up with new rain water. It was great to see their clear understanding of the tasks, each volunteer knew their role and worked together as a team to construct the foundation posts in a quick and efficient manner.

Placing first tyre into Foundation hole
Placing first tyre into Foundation hole

It takes a great deal of patience and careful orientation to place the truck tyres into the foundation holes. The wires which can be seen in image above plot out the central line of the foundation post. It is very important that the wires remain in the correct place to ensure we have an accurate measurement across the school grid.

Finished foot foundation post


On the last day, many of the school students helped out the volunteers to carry gravel to the holes. It was great to see the kids excited about the school project and get involved in lending a hand on site.

We were very sad to loose nine of our volunteers on Tuesday, as they returned to Hong Kong for their Summer break. Ashley, Airi, Stephanie, Charity, Chung, David, Hin, Nicholas and Jim made an incredible impact on the school site and we are very grateful for the help they offered over the last month. Thankfully, Jim will remain with us for another month and our UK volunteers Claire, Ben and Mark will continue to help out over the next week.

HK Volunteers
HK Volunteers

As we awaited recruitment of new volunteers to assist with the foundation posts and with a day of continuous heavy rain the remaining volunteers spent Wednesday at the Global Neighbors workshop. The workshop team had managed to drill all the required holes in the steel and cut to the correct dimensions to allow us to assemble the first classroom module. With great excitement the team assembled the steel construction simply slotting the steel plates in place and bolting together.

Fixing steel components together
Fixing steel components together

It was very exciting to see the pieces come together and gain a real understanding of the size and scale of one school classroom module. It was also very reassuring to know that in no time at all the unit was assembled.

Steel frame
Steel frame

We had the great opportunity to finally see how the bamboo wall panels which the G’yaw G’yaw workers made a few weeks ago would sit inside the steel frame. The frame slotted inside the frame perfectly and the combination of the dark metal steel frame looked fantastic next to the natural bamboo wall panel.  We cannot wait to see how one fully assembled unit with full wall panels, flooring and roof will look very soon.

Bamboo wall panel and Steel frame
Bamboo wall panel and Steel frame


Now that we have tested the first module we can confirm all dimensions with the workshop and order steel for the ten classroom modules. Over the next few weeks the apprentices at the workshop will be plotting, marking out and drilling many holes to create the final steel frame structure. The steel will be brought to the school and assembled on site. In the meantime, there is lots of painting to be done!

Painting foundation feet
Painting foundation feet